Feeds

Pesticides fingered in UK honeybee wipeout

Further suspicion falls on neonicotinoids

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A new study appears to have confirmed suspicions that the neonicotinoid group of pesticides is in part responsible for the dramatic decline in UK honeybee numbers, the Telegraph reports.

Insect research charity Buglife and the Soil Association "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of research" which demonstrate that neonicotinoids "damage the health and life cycle of bees over the long term by affecting the nervous system".

Previous scientific tests suggested a possible link between one of the neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, and disruption of honeybees' "sophisticated communication and navigation systems". Fears over the chemical earlier this year prompted the Co-op to ban the use of all neonicotinoids on its 70,000 acres of land in in England and Scotland, "until they are shown to be safe".

Germany, Italy and Slovenia last year similarly banned all neonicotinoids in response to the honeybee crisis, while French farmers have not been able to deploy imidacloprid as a sunflower seed-dressing for ten years.

Matt Shardlow, Buglife chief exec, said: “Other countries have already introduced bans to prevent neonicotinoids from harming bees. This is the most comprehensive review of the scientific evidence yet and it has revealed the disturbing amount of damage these poisons can cause."

Peter Melchett, director of the Soil Association, added: “The UK is notorious for taking the most relaxed approach to pesticide safety in the EU. Buglife’s report shows that this puts at risk pollination services vital for UK agriculture."

However, Dr Julian Little of Bayer CropScience - which manufacturers oilseed rape insecticide Chinook, containing imidacloprid - said that pesticides are "not approved unless it is found they have no effects on insects like bees".

He insisted: "When it comes to bee health, pesticides are not the problem, disease is."

Whether Dr Little is right remains to be seen. The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs' initial findings as to the cause of honeybee population collapse suggested "the possible implication of abnormally wet weather - which may have hindered the bees' ability to collect enough food to survive the winter - coupled with the single-celled fungus Nosema, which might have taken advantage of the insects' rain-induced confinement and stressed state to spread with deadly effect", as we put it back in January. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.